Team effort to fight noisy neighbours

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The number of legal orders issued against noisy neighbours in Leeds has rocketed – despite a fall in complaints from victims – new figures reveal.

In the last year, the Leeds Anti-social Behaviour Team (LASBT) issued 534 noise abatement notices – up from just 11 the previous year.

Offending equipment including televisions and sound systems was seized from 22 properties in 2014-15 and in three cases problems were so bad premises were forcibly closed.

The increase in legal action comes despite a 17 per cent fall in the number of calls received by the out-of-hours noise nuisance service, from 8,705 in 2013-14 to 7,200 last year.

Coun Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Safer Leeds, said the figures reflected the fact that the council and police were working together for the first time to crack down on the problem – and were taking it more seriously than before.

He said: “Up and down Leeds I have been to many places where people have been subjected to noise and anti-social behaviour and it’s a blight on people’s lives.

“For a city the size of Leeds, 11 noise abatement notices in a year isn’t an accurate reflection of the problem of noise nuisance.

“Basically we had a noise service that wasn’t linked to the anti-social behaviour team and working in isolation from the police. By bringing these three bodies together and working more effectively, we’re seeing some really positive results.

“As a city, for the first time, we’re getting on top of noise nuisance.”

Noise nuisance is classed as unreasonable or excessive noise, which generally happens at unsociable hours.

LASBT has a dedicated telephone service for complaints which gets up to 50 calls a night on Fridays and Saturdays.

The team uses marked vans which are dispatched to addresses where there are complaints.

People who ignore noise abatement orders face criminal prosecution, fines and the loss of equipment.

In the most extreme cases, the courts can grant premises closure orders, which mean the occupants must vacate their properties for a set period of time.

Coun Dobson added: “I have seen at first hand the misery caused by noise nuisance in our communities, and while there is certainly no room for complacency, I do believe that the results achieved over the last year demonstrate the action we are willing to take to crack down hard on this problem.”

The Headingley area of Leeds has traditionally seen some of the worst problems, with rowdy early hours student parties causing misery for other residents.